No. 535: Harry Bertoia, Olivia Block

Episode No. 535 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features curator and historian Marin Sullivan and artist Olivia Block.

Along with Jed Morse, Sullivan is the co-curator of “Harry Bertoia: Sculpting Mid-Century Modern Life,” the first American museum retrospective of Bertoia’s work in over 50 years. The exhibition is at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas through April 24. The exhibition features over 100 works, including Bertoia’s early jewelry and furniture designs, monotypes, sculptures, and commissions he fulfilled for architect-clients such as Gordon Bunshaft, Eero Saarinen and Minoru Yamasaki. The exhibition is accompanied by an excellent catalogue published by the museum in collaboration with Verlag Scheidegger & Spiess. Indiebound and Amazon offer it for $59.

The Nasher has commissioned Olivia Block to make a new sound installation from recordings of Bertoia’s so-called sonambient sculptures. Block’s new composition, titled The Speed of Sound in Infinite Copper, will highlight the Bertoias’ ability to create a palpable sonic space while allowing the audience to activate the sonic experience by moving about a gallery. The Speed of Sound in Infinite Copper will be presented at the museum through April 24.

Block’s discography includes over 20 solo and collaborative recordings. She has performed and exhibited around the world including in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and at venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, London and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid.

Instagram: Marin Sullivan, Olivia Block, Tyler Green.

Air date: February 3, 2022.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled, nd.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled (Multi-Plane Construction), ca. 1953.

Harry Bertoia, Sculpture for Civic Center Plaza, Philadelphia, 1967.

Harry Bertoia, Landscape Fantasy, ca. 1960.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled, ca. 1960.

Harry Bertoia, Construction after the Enjoyment of a Mulberry Tree, 1953.

Harry Bertoia, Tree, ca. early 1950s.

Harry Bertoia, Sculpture for MIT Chapel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1955.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled, 1953.

Harry Bertoia, Sculpture, ca. early 1950s.

Harry Bertoia, Screet Tree, ca. 1955.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled, ca. 1970.

Harry Bertoia, Untitled, ca. 1970s.

Harry Bertoia, Earth from Space, 1962.


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